In recent times, one of the main points of discussion with childcare centre owners is that another childcare centre has opened up nearby and more are being built in their area.
The biggest problem is, that most of these centres are large, 120 to 250 license capacity and appear to be getting developed in areas where current centres are struggling to reach even 85% of capacity. There appears to be no control over development of centres based on local area demographics.
The issue is, you need to compete to keep your centre open and this can be hard. There are some key areas that you can work on to help your centre be competitive with the new centres.
1. Keep your centre fresh and friendly.
New centres have that lovely fresh feeling about them, but is that what parents are really looking for, we also hear parents talk about how they feel like medical clinics. They either went there and didn’t like it, or their child was in the centre for a while, but they found there were a lot of other areas the new centres were very lacking in.
Centres I have worked with, have experienced children being withdrawn from their centre and enroled in the new centre near by. On each occasion, within weeks, those parents were looking to enrol their children back in the original centre. They have also brought other children from the new centre with them.
Why? These are the points they came back for;
- Family friendly environment.
- They felt welcome and as if they belong to the centre.
- Their children were happier.
- Everyone new their child’s name and the parents names.
- Security from long-term experienced staff.
- Centre flexibility, suiting family requirements
These points are very important to keeping your families happy and looking to stay for the long-term in your centre. Combine these with a maintenance program aimed at keeping your centre fresh and up-to-date and you will be competitive with the newer centres in your area.
2. Ensure you have a strategic marketing program in place.
With the growth in childcare centre numbers, gone are the days when you could put an add in the paper or on the radio, put an add in yellow pages, send out a letterbox drop and rely on word of mouth marketing to fill your centre. The digital age has changed everything.
Most centre owners are aware that word of mouth marketing is one of the mainstays of marketing your centre, what happens after someone hears about your centre is where things have changed. And this is where a properly designed and automated strategic marketing program will help you stand out above the centres around you.
A strategic marketing program is developed around the wants and desires of the children’s parents. Never forget, it is the parents who enrol the children into your centre, so, you need to ensure you can show and demonstrate to them, that you have what they are looking for.
Once you have developed your strategic marketing message, you then need to deliver that message using various digital and non digital methods, that are automated, linked together and deliverable 24hrs a day.
Being visible and competitive in today’s market place is very important. The problem is, putting all of this marketing into place, requires knowledge and skills in strategic marketing processes, in depth knowledge of social media, websites, CRM’s and monitoring apps and systems and how to make them talk to each other.
Running a childcare centre is a handful in itself, let alone now having to learn and develop these new skills. And where would you get the time to do it? It is no longer a good use of a centre owners or directors time and funds to be trying to implement your own marketing.
Just building a website, or having someone do your social media is not enough. Your marketing needs to be smart. You need someone that has a knowledge of all of these marketing tools, who also knows what a strategic marketing program is, at an affordable cost.
When interviewing potential marketers for your centre, ensure they can explain to you what a strategic marketing program is and that they will build your marketing using the following systems. A Website, Social Media, A CRM and monitoring systems. They will need to demonstrate how each of these systems will work in integration with each other and how they will operate 24hrs a day.
You will then require them to show how they will assist with other forms of marketing and how these forms of marketing will integrate with these tools.
You can compete against any competitor, when you have your marketing set-up properly.
Peter Johnson – The Time Retriever is a business productivity coach, who specialises in childcare centres. Peter has worked with childcare centres for over 6 years, coaching centre owners, directors and staff on business and productivity skills. He realised that for a childcare centre to be competitive in today’s marketing environment, it was no longer a good use of centre owners and directors time to be trying to do the marketing for their centre. His business, The Time Retriever, now offers childcare centres, a complete “Done For You” marketing program for centres.
Have a great week.